Its the heart of January.
Bleak skies, rainy nights, and the desperate, glassy-eyed, sun-deprived stares on people's faces. The leaves on the trees have fallen, their bare branches revealing the dirty, scarred, brokenness of the winter landscape. Patches of garbage strewn along highway medians, muddy dirt roads, streaks of dulled, chipped paint on the sides of dilapidated trailers.
Its a reminder of the imperfections of this space.. there is an absence of glamor and inspiration.
I'm driving county roads this morning.. watching all of this scroll by.. the bleakness and the gray; the dead grass in the fields... the weather-worn roofs of old barns.
I slow down for a random, mud-covered horse, standing on the side of the road..
she just stares ahead blankly as I cruise by.
Normally, my first response is... escape.
I think for a moment that I rather be somewhere else... somewhere warm, somewhere with sunshine, somewhere.. where its easy to sink into a state of habitual happiness.
But as I keep driving.. I begin to see things differently.
I realized that.. today... I didn't feel happy... and not only that.. I didn't want to.....
I didn't need to.
And that absence of desiring to escape the moment... felt genuinely, vulnerably, deeply good.
As I drove.. watching the bleakness of January..
I kind of fell in love with it in a way..
It was like watching part myself drift by outside my truck window.
The deserted places, the rusty, dirty, imperfection.. the sadness..
It was unassuming... honest.. simply existing and enduring the coldness of winter..
just like me.
And somewhere inside of me was glad for that reflection.
I never made an agreement with myself, or anyone, to be "happy constantly"..
but sometimes I feel as though I did.
There is this cultural pressure to achieve happiness at all costs.. and I think it undermines my ability to simply embrace life at times.
I am presently human.. and the truth of it is that I am gifted with the ability to FEEL many emotions.. to experience the pleasure and bliss of life... but just as much, the gray and the tragedy.
I don't need to escape January.
I don't need a "paradise" to take the place of an Alabama back road.
I don't have to manufacture or fashion happiness out of scraps of distraction.
I can watch it.. and accept it.. and in doing that, also accept myself.
I think to truly move towards goodness, muchness, greatness.. we should make moments to become comfortable with the weakest, most unimpressive sides of ourselves..
so that we remember that all of this is ours. too.